Monday, June 30, 2008

WIP: Broken Scarf (Working Title)

So after sleeping on my swatches (not literally, of course) I decided to knit my scarf "the right way" and alternate the two skeins of yarn.

A while back I bought Knitting With Hand-Dyed Yarns, not because I wanted to knit a specific project, but because I thought it would be good inspiration. It's paid off. There is a whole section on broken garter stitch. (Hence the working title "Broken Scarf."

Startitis continues.

Meanwhile, tomorrow I'm determined to block Strangling Vine tomorrow for the "Finishing on the Firsts" Ravelry group. Hopefully we'll swap one scarf for another.

July List

Cross posted at Sally Comes Unraveled and Year Long Gift-A-Long.

OK, June sucked. It sucked bad. I have no FOs to show show for the gift-a-long, and I didn't finish the second quarter challenge (although I did make progress. Sort of.)

I blame the heat.

June Wrap Up:

1. Gift Item: A lace shawl. This is my large project for the second quarter challenge. (Rollover)
Progress: I need to restart the thing with new needles. There are more details here, here and here.

2. Gift Item: Finish Boogie Time (2 of them) (Rollover)
Progress: I'm still stuck. I still need a watch face that works for a boy.

3. Gift Item: Rainbow Socks (Rollover)
Progress: No progress.

4. Gift Item: Jen's Purse (secret knitting - Rollover)
Progress: The yarn is lost in Jen's house.

5. Gift Item: Wickerware Socks (socks for a male relative.)
Progress: I've gotten this far:

Also, this wasn't part of the list, I'm almost done with this scarf, which will also be a gift.

July Gift List:

1. Gift Item: A lace shawl. I'm really going to finish it! (Rollover - Again)
Recipient: Grandma
Occasion: Christmas
Deadline: June 2008, for the Second Quarter Challenge.

2. Gift Item: Finish Boogie Time (2 of them) (Rollover - Again)
Recipient: Family Friends
Occasion: last Christmas
Deadline: Overdue

3. Gift Item: finish my sister's socks (rollover - Again)
Recipient: Sister
Occasion: Birthday
Deadline: Overdue

4. Gift Item: Jen's Purse
Recipient: Friend
Occasion: Birthday
Deadline: Overdue

5. Gift Item: Wickerware Socks
Recipient: Male Relative
Occasion: Christmas
Deadline: Let's say December 18, to give me enough time to mail it.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Swatching Sunday: Silky Merino Edition

How do you solve a problem like Bahia?

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

I've been working on some swatches of new yarns, but for "official" swatching Sunday, I've been playing with the two skeins Malabrigo Silky Merino in "Bahia" that I got at Gauge.

As I said before, one skein seems to be light than the other, despite the fact that they are officially the same dyelot. It's pretty common with hand dyed yarn.

This swatch is half in one skein and half in the other. I cropped it weird so you can't see where I switched yarns. (I know it's blurry, but you get the picture.) Can you tell the difference?

I knit this swatch while switching skeins every other way. This is the way you're "supposed to" to do it. It looks fine, but it's a pain to knit this way.

I also tried holding both skeins together and using a larger needle. (This one was knit with US size 8, the others were knit with US size 5.) I like the effect of holding the two skeins together to blend the colors. However, for the idea I have in mind for this scarf, I think I want to single strand it. I'll save this idea for another time.

So what do you think. Can you tell the difference between the two skeins in the first swatch?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

FO: WALL-E Scarf

This wasn't quite a one sitting scarf like this one, but I did manage to finish this in one day.

Today my friends and I saw WALL-E. It was a great movie, with a lot of social commentary on the environment, consumerism, technology and more, as well as cute robots falling in love.

While we were watching, I knit. By the end of the movie, this is how much I had finished.

I was more than halfway through when the movie was over. I used my Knit Lite Knitting Needles, although they were only one during the previews. I knit in the dark most of the time. After all, it's all about feel.

I worked a little more at my friends' house, at the restaurant and finished up the last few rows at home.

I used two skeins of Lion Brand Fancy Fur in Electric Slide and my Knit Lite needles in US size 9. I cast on 12 stitches and knit until I ran out of yarn.

It always feels good to bust some stash, and I've got another one for the craft show bin.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Amigurumi Sighting

Have you seen this commercial for Fuse featuring Amigurumi? There's got to be a story behind this. I wonder if there's a pattern out there?

Happy (Fiscal) New Year

If you thought yesterday was cool, check out what I got today.

My team met its revenue goal for the fiscal year. Our client rewarded us by giving everyone on the team an 8 GB Zune.

And we all got to leave to work two hours early.

And we're having lunch from Pappadeaux's on Monday.

Of course, it's not all fun and games. Next week I'm going to a different assignment with a different supervisor. It's sort of part of my recent promotion. Also, the entire company is rolling out new software on Monday, so that should be...interesting.

For now, I'm finding out more about my Zune. However, I haven't taken it out of the wrapper yet because there's one little hitch.

Zunes are made by Microsoft. I'm using an iBook G4.

Officially Zunes are not Mac compatible, but a few people have found ways around that. However, Mac users are saying "Who cares when I can buy an iPod."

So if my techie friends can't help me, I may sell it on eBay. Even if I only get half of retail value that's a lot of yarn I can buy money I can put in savings.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

When was the last time you won a prize at your job?

Being in a sales-type environment, we have occasional contests and drawings at work. Today I won the drawing for this lovely piece of luggage. It's sturdier than the bag I took to California. Also, the inside has pockets, and the lining is attached with a zipper so it can be removed.

As one of my former coworkers used to say, winner, winner, chicken dinner.

This evening I watched Lars and the Real Girl. It was a sweet movie, although the ending made me cry. (If I explain why, it will ruin the ending.)

The movie is worth mentioning for the knitting alone. An important prop throughout the movie is the baby blanket his Mom knit for him. (However, they never say knit. They only say "made." But it's obviously knit.) It looks like a feather and fan pattern. He wears it around is neck like a scarf for much of the movie. It made me want to make a baby blanket and wear it like a scarf.

The movie takes place in a cold climate, so there are plenty of hats and scarves that either hand knit or look like they could be hand knit. There is also a great seen where all the ladies from the church bring their knitting to Lars' house.

On another unrelated note, SuperCrafty has almost all of it's merchandise 30% off, including a nice yarn selection. I sometimes read the owner's blog, A Day Late and a Dollar Short, and I saw the sale on there earlier today. It seems unfair that a blog I read for personal finance is tempting me with yarn. Oh, the irony.

WIP Wednesday and Falling off the Wagon

So I fell off the wagon. Just a little. I went over my yarn budget, but there won't be any bounced checks, overdrafts or charges to my credit card.

There is a sale going on at Bluebonnet Yarn Shoppe from now through Saturday. All the yarn is 25% off.

I have good reasons for all of them. The SWTC A-MAIZing yarn in the bottom left is for swatching. (Number 77 on my list.) The Berroco Ultra Alpaca and Noro Silk Garden are for Christmas gifts. (The Fake Isle Hat and one of the Three Tams.) And the skein of Cascade Venezia in the upper left corner matches my eyes. (You can take a closer look at them here.)

Here's a better look at the Noro and the Ultra Alpaca. I think this color of Ultra Alpaca works well with both shades of Silk Garden. Picking out a single shade of Noro is hard enough. Picking a single shade and a coordinating solid is even harder.

After I got home I looked at the FOs for Three Tams on Ravelry. How do you wear a tam anyway? I saw some pictures that made it look like a regular cap. One person blocked theirs on a pie pan. What am I going for, really?

WIP Wednesday

It's Wednesday and lots of other bloggers do WIP Wednesday. Why shouldn't I?

Let's start with spinning. I borrowed my Mom's ginormous Navajo Spindle, but plying the merino singles I spun isn't getting easier. The spinning on my leg technique was hard and my own attempt to spin it like a top didn't work very well either. (And all this yarn won't fit on my drop spindle.)

Meanwhile, I'm actually making negative progress on my Wickerware Socks. I've made a lot of progress since the last time you saw them, but look where I was during my break at work today.

I screwed up the stitch pattern bad enough to bother me, and frogging everything above the red needles was the easiest way to fix it.

Finally, here's my precious Malabrigo Silky Merino, all wound up making it obvious that one skein is much lighter than the other. I'm debating my next move. I can either alternate skeins, hold two strands together and use bigger needles or just hope for the best.

I think some swatching is in order first.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I'm not dead yet!

Here's proof that I have been swatching on Sunday. On other days as well. I just haven't officially posted it. I'm waiting to block.

This is the Classic Elite Soft Linen that I bought at Gauge. I'm also working on swatching the Cascade Greenland I bought at Wildfiber.

I also haven't given up on Strangling Vine, which I have been mistakenly calling Strangling Vines. Originally I was going to wait until I blocked this scarf and my Noro Striped Scarf before moving on to the next project, but at this rate, I think I'll settle for simply rewarding myself for finally going grocery shopping.

I am kinda-sorta using the ruler blocking technique I found in this KnitPicks PDF. However, I couldn't find the right size ruler, so I'm using this one foot by one foot square from my Mom's quilting supplies. It helps, but I can't quite use the technique in the PDF.

This is how far I've gotten as of now. I've already used an entire box of T-Pins.

The ruler is helping me keep things straight, but I think it's still a little uneven. This is why I really want a blocking board like this one. I know I can use plaid sheets, but the board would also let me put it on my bed or increase the width of my table. Right now all my blocking takes place in the closet.

On that note, it's time to do some more pinning.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Picture Time - Gauge and more

I just uploaded a bunch of pictures to Flickr, and I decided it was time to share some of them.

Charity Squares at Gauge

While going through storage, Mom found a bunch of squares she had knit and crocheted for afghans that have since been abandoned.I brought them to Gauge on Saturday for their charity projects.

These are crocheted. I had to do some color correction on the white squares, so I'm not sure how accurate the color is here.

These are from a Barbara Walker pattern.

I decided to start with the white knit squares. I tried crocheting them together, and finally decided I could do a neater seam by sewing them together.

Here's how far I got on Saturday. I'm still debating what to do once they're all attached. I'm hoping to make a lap blanket.

Finally, here's a bonus picture of Karli's Hanami, made with Sea Silk. It was too good not to take a picture.

I like turtles.

My sister moved into her first apartment recently, and while I was there I came across the turtle she crocheted for her boyfriend a while back. Look familiar? I know this kid liked it.

WIP: Chunky Striped Scarf

This picture is actually out of date. All I have left to do at this point is weave in the ends and block the scarf. Once I block this, I'm digging into my Malabrigo Silky Merino.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

"Neck Candy" Class at Hill Country Weavers

On Thursday I took the "Neck Candy" scarf class at Hill Country Weavers. The class was taught by Suzanne's friend Shelli of Knitterly in California.

We learned to make little scarfs (scarflettes?) like the one Shelli is wearing in this picture. The class was called Neck Candy, but she said there may be another pattern called Neck Candy out there, so really there is no official name for the pattern.

Shelli talked about all the different yarns, fibers and gauges you can use. She recommends wearing ones made of cotton or bamboo soaking them in water, and wearing them to cool off on a hot day.

They make good stashbusters and quick gifts. It's also a good pattern for small amounts of luxury fibers. This one is made out of 100% Cashmere.

I cast on with the SWTC Oasis leftover from my Clapotis. I think it will be good for cooling off.

Shelli encouraged everyone to improvise and use different cable patterns and picot edges. I may make a couple more like this.

Swap, anyone?

After my discovery that reverse seasonal affective disorder may exist, I feel like a swap maybe in order. I've seen several "winter doldrums" type swaps. I think we need a Summer SAD Swap.

I've never hosted a swap before. And I'm not absolutely sure I'm going to follow through at this point. I would be interested in feedback. If you're interested, do you want to do one big package or several small ones? Do we want to make it secret or not? What should the price range be?

I'm thinking we should swap cool and comfortable yarns (cotton, linen, bamboo, etc), things for cooling off and things for cheering up.

Any thoughts? I'll post an update in a few days.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Yarn Pr0n: Gauge

I don't feel like serious blogging tonight, but I will share some yarn pr0n from Gauge.

It was my 10th purchase, which meant I got 25 percent off.

From left to right starting at the top:

-Noro Taiyo in color 5 for an Entrelac Scarf.
-Noro Taiyo in Color 6 and Louet Gems Chunky in Crabapple, possibly for a Fake Isle Hat or something similar.
-Malabrigo Silky Merino in Bahia. I almost missed out on this colorway, but someone put two back. I had already paid, but Karli let me add them at the same discount. Sweet!
-Malabrigo Silky Merino in Marruecos.
-Nifty Gauge Tote Bag
-Malabrigo Seleccion Privada in Colorway Y
-Addi Turbo Lace Needles in US size 2.
-Classic Elite Soft Linen in "New Fern" for swatching. I've already gotten into this one.

I still stayed within my budget. Unlike every other area of my life, I think buying yarn in "binges" works for me.

Click here for more details and larger sized pictures.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Well crap.

Today is supposed to be the happiest day of the year.

I say that's a bunch of crap.

It may be Friday, but it's a billion degrees outside and I'm all stressed out from work. (Among other things, next week is the end of the fiscal year.)

I decided I deserved a pizza, so I called Austin's Pizza. Apparently they don't deliver "quite that far east."

Well crap.

Later I'll have pictures of last night's knitting class.

For now, the Knitting Nest has a new eBay Store is you can't get to Austin to get your Cascade 220.

In the mean time, I'm going to Gatti's.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Heat, Climatism and Reverse SAD

I was gearing up to write a rant about the heat, and I had a revelation.

It turns out it's not just me. There's evidence that Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder exists.

I've joked about having Reverse SAD in the past, but I've found that it's real for some people.

I hate summer, and the fact that everyone and everything around mean seems to be pointing to the fact that this should be a happy time of year makes it that much harder.

When it's a little overcast and the weather is cool crisp, that's when I'm happy and energized. When it's warm and sunny, I want to retreat from the outdoors.

And there are plenty of other reasons for me to hate summer. I hate the fact that everything stops and slows down. The thrill of having summer vacation off was always fleeting. I missed my friends and I was always bored. I had band camp and the occasional family trip to visit relatives, but it always seemed like everyone else had better things to do.

I thought once I was done with school, it would get better. Then I moved to Florida where a huge chunk of the population is seasonal and everyone leaves in the summer. And everything slows down. Then I found myself working at a newspaper, scrambling for stories during the "slow season."

What is everyone slowing down for? Where's all the fun that's supposed to come with summer? Was I not invited to the party? I always associate summer with loneliness, despair and unbearable heat.

All of this seems to be a cruel contrast to fall and winter, when we have Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, etc.

Some of the worst times in my life have been during the summer. I can't even talk about the emotional and physical despair of the summer of 2006, when I was on short term disability. Not to mention 1996, when I had two terminally ill grandparents.

The good stuff that does happen in the summer is always outside. While WWKIP Day was cool, the whole time I was walking around the capital grounds, sweating, I'm thinking "Who's bright idea was it to have WWKIP Day in June?"

This is a horrible time for a garage sale, a camping trip or a trip to theme park. It's time to stay in the air conditioning.

I've often wondered why I haven't become "acclimatized" to the heat, considering I've always lived in warm climates. Recently I realized I am acclimatized. Because people who are acclimated sweat more. And I hate being sweaty. (I do appreciate that it prevents me from dying from heat stroke. I still don't like it.)

BTW - Did you know Austin is one of the the country's sweatiest cities? In fact, six of the ten cities are in Texas.

And that brings me to the subject of climatism. I know the northern half of the country is milder, and I all winter long I read blog entries from northern knitters lamenting the cold grayness, and actually having a use for think wool sweaters. But why is our culture so centered around they joy of spring of summer when half the country is plunged into oppressive heat?

Which brings me back to my original point. I don't have problems as severe as some of the people mentioned in this article, but there's definitely something more going on than being hot and bored.

"I actually feel kind of attacked by the sun." That's me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Things that cut into my yarn budget: The Dentist (plus a meme and a freebie)

Things That Cut Into My Yarn Budget

Today I went to the dentist. Again.

Since my dental insurance rolled over again, and I have my FSA, the bill wasn't as bad as it had been before.

Still, I owed $52 for the last trip. (I paid $50 before. I had to wait until they knew exactly how much insurance would pay.) This round will cost about $240. I paid half this time, and I will pay the other half when I get my permanent crown.

I'm also worried because I still hurt from last time. Also, if I have problems like I did last summer, the office will be closed from Thursday until the end of the month.

The dentist said I strained my jaw muscle. He recommends warm compresses, followed by stretching my jaw and bananas (for the potassium.) He said it was like a cramp. Does a cramp last for a month? If it weren't for the Advil, the pain would be constant.

I really don't get how he makes a living working four days a week all year, and taking frequent vacations. I also wonder about his staff. Are they paid for a forty hour work week? Are they ineligible for health insurance because they work less than 40 hours a week?

This is all pure speculation. I'm going to stop before someone calls me an anti-dentite.


I don't know if it's full yet, but Hill Country Weavers is having a free class on Thursday.

Here are the stats:
mmm... it's delicious!
free class and pattern

HCW is launching it's NECK CANDY CAMPAIGN to raise money to fight breast cancer.

SHELLI WESTCOTT of KNITTERLY will teach us how to create our own original piece of NECK CANDY.
Join us for this free class on June 19 at 10:00 - 12:00 or 6:30 - 8:30.

Treat yourself and consider knitting an extra to donate to the HCW CANDY JAR!
100% of the proceeds from selling your NECK CANDY will be donated to fight breast cancer.

RSVP 707-7396
Drop off your CANDY from now until the end of October!
The scarf pictured is a somewhat short one with cables and a ruffled edge. I think it's supposed to look like a breast cancer awareness ribbon. The one in the picture is pink.

I'll need to bring about 100 yards of worsted yarn. Decisions, decisions.


I saw this on Staci's blog, among others. She's be amused that one of her pictures came up (along with one of mine.)

1. Sally Lightfoot Crabs, 2. Pizza Porn, 3. LBJ robot, 4. Blue Purple Iris, 5. Michael Nesmith, 6. Homemade Ginger Ale, 7. Stitches West 2008, 8. mmmummm..mummm...mmmmummmmumumum, 9. 365days, day 144, 10. Jules, 11. quixotic impulse., 12. rsz_P3120791.jpg

Directions if you want to play:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

Monday, June 16, 2008

World Wide Knit In Public Day

For the record, I did make it to the capitol on Saturday for World Wide Knit In Public Day. However, I got there late and things were winding down when I got there.

I did do some work on Kiri. The above picture is where I was when I left. The picture below is what I had when I arrived.

Basically, I frogged to my lifeline, knit two rows and realized there was still a mistake.

I did get to see Lynn in her roped shell. She substituted linen for silk, making it a good pick for summer.

I also had a refreshing snowcone made with margarita mix.

Once I determined I still had a mistake in Kiri, I decided it was time to head to the Gauge for the after party.

At Gauge I got one of the cool new shirts and had some of the matching cupcakes. (Laura is modeling both.)

Lynn helped me with Kiri, where we determined that that mistake occurred somewhere before the lifeline.

Since she has more lace experience than I do, I asked Lynn what she would do (WWLD) and she said she would use more stitch markers.

Considering I didn't have a time machine, we decided it was time to frog. Lynn helped me take another one of those 15 second videos.

In case you can't tell, the yarn breaks at the very beginning of the video. You can't see my face, but it's almost as if you can see the depair in my hands.

I decided Kiri needed to go into time out. That's when I started the Emergency Back Up Scarf.

When I got home, I decided I needed something easy, quick and knit with yummy yarn.

I used my Noro Silk Garden Chunky that I got at Wildfiber and cast on a chunky Noro Striped Scarf.

I haven't given up on Kiri, but I'm giving it some time to sit and think before I take it out of time out.